Fifth term to Rajya Sabha an honour: PM

New Delhi/Guwahati, May 30 (IANS) Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Thursday termed his re-election to the Rajya Sabha for a fifth term from Assam as an honour and pledged to develop the northeastern state further.

“It is a great honour for me that the people of Assam, through their elected representatives in the state’s legislative assembly, have given me an opportunity to serve them again,” said the prime minister, who is in Thailand, in a statement issued here.

“I have been representing Assam in the Rajya Sabha ever since 1991 and in this period it has been my constant endeavour to work for the state’s development and prosperity to the best of my ability. I solemnly pledge that I will continue these efforts in the future too,” he said.

“I once again thank the people of Assam and the members of the state’s legislative assembly for their trust, love and affection. I thank Congress president Sonia Gandhi and the numerous Congressmen who have made it possible for me to represent Assam in the Rajya Sabha once more,” said the prime minister.

Another Congress candidate, Santiuse Kujur, also got elected to the upper house — for the first time.

There were three candidates for the two Rajya Sabha seats from Assam: Manmohan Singh, Kujur and Aminul Islam of the All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF).

“I am very happy I got the support of all my colleagues. I thank all Congress members for my victory,” Kujur said.

Kujur said a total of 112 votes were cast in the polls. “While Manmohan Singh received 49 votes, I got 45 votes,” he said, adding that Islam got only 18 votes.

The Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), who have nine and five legislators respectively in the present assembly, abstained from voting. After the decision of the AGP and BJP, the Congress needed only 38 votes each to win two seats.

The present term of Manmohan Singh and another Rajya Sabha member, AGP’s Kumar Deepak Das, will expire June 14.

Manmohan Singh had May 15 filed his nomination papers for the Rajya Sabha election.

Former Assam chief minister Hiteswar Saikia offered him a Rajya Sabha seat from Assam after Manmohan Singh became the union finance minister in 1991.

Saikia also made him a tenant in his house, at Sarumotoria locality in Guwahati.

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